Video: York moviemaker triumphs at the Oscars

Serena Armitage wins the Oscar for Stutterer as Benjamin Cleary looks on. Photograph: YouTube
29 Feb 2016 @ 12.57 pm
| News

A filmmaker from near York is bringing home an awesome souvenir of her trip to the US – only an Oscar!

Serena Armitage, of Nun Monkton, collected the coveted golden figurine at the 88th Academy Awards on Sunday (February 28).

She produced Stutterer, which won the award for Best Live Action Short Film.

Serena told the Academy, and watching millions:

  • On behalf of Shan, who produced this film with me, we just want to thank Ben for bringing us on a journey and to the academy for honouring short films.

Benjamin Cleary, who wrote the film, appeared on the rostrum with Serena.

Party time


Serena said she could hardly believe the news. She told Georgey Spanswick on the BBC Radio York breakfast show:

  • It’s such a weird feeling because you know you need to be semi-prepared in case you do win – but at the same time I really didn’t think we were going to win.

    In a way it’s no different from being awarded a prize at school when you have to go up, which I always found terrifying.

    But then you get on the stage and you’re standing there looking down and Leonardo DiCaprio’s at your feet and you think, ‘Oh my lord, I’m making a speech and Leonardo DiCaprio is a metre away from me’.

    I had to think of Margaret Thatcher naked to try and hold myself together!

Serena was hanging on to her Oscar with a vice-like grip.

“Apparently the Oscar gets you into any party tonight,” she said. “So I have to carry it around – but it is actually quite heavy and I’m terrified of losing it!

She was planning to go to both the Vanity Fair and Elton John after show parties.

Fairy tale ending

Matthew Needham as the eponymous  Stutterer
Matthew Needham as the eponymous Stutterer

Stutterer tells the story of a charismatic man who struggles to communicate with the rest of the world because of his stutter.

He forms an online relationship with a girl – but when she wants to meet in real life he isn’t sure what to do.

In the Best Live Action Short Film category it was up against four rival movies. Serena said she thought Shok, a drama set in the Kosovo war directed by Jamie Donoughue, would win.

Having previously produced TV show Come Dine With Me, she took on Stutterer which won a Critic’s Circle Award after being shown in the Aesthetica Short Film Festival in York last November.

Serena, fellow producer Shan Christopher Ogilvie and writer-director Benjamin Cleary of Bare Golly Films, flew out to the US at the start of the month to build on the buzz of the film.

Their trip was sponsored by the York Handmade Brick Company, whose chairman David Armitage is the proud dad of Serena.